Let's face it: employees often know who needs to be let go faster than managers. Managers don't see the real actions, or lack thereof, of their most valued team members. Being someone who has been a manager, I can vouch for this. You get blinded by a few things when there are so many working parts to management.
Here are four types of employees that are affecting your team, even if you have no clue. These types of people should be let-go immediately.
Let's define what a "get-by" employee is first. They are someone who barely makes deadlines. The person who always uses their 5-minute grace period, and who always volunteers for the part of the project that doesn't require much effort. An employee like this is just getting by. They're skating through their career — doing just enough to keep their job.
A team that has a get-by member is frustrated because that employee doesn't pull their weight. While everyone else is working hard, they are smooth sailing. No one hires a person to do the bare minimum. So why would you keep a team member that does the bare minimum? Let this employee go.
Toxic employees fly under the radar with management. They have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality, but the manager can't see it. All they see is someone who is a great team member, who works hard and who always raises their hand for something. But when their manager is gone, this person flips. If you notice you have a team member who always rotates in and out of certain circles in the office, whose work-friends are ever-changing or who goes through periods by themselves, they may be a toxic employee.
Toxic employees affect new hires more than anything. New hires barely have opinions on the company, department and team; the toxic employee shapes this opinion. Let them go before they can.
A fake successful employee is someone who gets lucky at work. They answered the phone at the right time. They approached the right customer. They got the "good" part of the project. It's someone who doesn't have to work hard to make it seem as if they are working hard. Make sense?
So, why would you fire this person if they are successful? Great question! Because they do not know how to do the job. Things have fallen into their lap because of their luck. They answered the phone and landed a major deal, and leadership now believes they have the skills to go out and get more business or clients. They are assigned to train new hires because they are seen as successful, when they don't have a story to tell. And most importantly, they do not know how to handle failure.
When the fake successful person gets their first significant challenge or loss, they do not know how to handle it. And usually, they do not make it much longer. They've been riding a high for so long, that they don't know how to handle the downward slopes. Let them go before this happens.
This final type might come as a shock, but a manager's best relationship is usually not the hardest working person. And if they are, it may be because they fall into one of the categories above. For instance, the get-by employee loves to be close to management. If they are close to their manager, they can get first pick at projects and appear to have it all together. The toxic employee will have the biggest smile in the room, the best ideas and will want to lead the team in assignments. It's a way to stay in control. And the fake successful person? The hardest people to fire are top producers and employees. But if you are a manager, this the person you should pay the most attention to. Their peers will naturally want to be next to them and learn from them, so make sure they can set a good example and help actually train and mentor others.
Being a manager is tough, but you wouldn't be in the job if you couldn't handle it. Lean on your team members to support. They see things way before you do. You would be surprised how much happens right under your nose.
Jemia is a certified Diversity & Inclusion Practitioner from Georgetown University. Her passions lie in research around equity, gender & diversity and blogging about her experiences as a woman of color. You can find Jemia on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
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